Members of The National Union of Mineworkers sing and dance before the launch of of NUM National congress. Picture Antoine de Ras
Carletonville - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Wednesday announced it would oppose AngloGold Ashanti's retrenchment notice which could leave as many as 8,500 workers jobless.

"The NUM AngloGold Ashanti Shaft Stewards Council met today (Wednesday) in Carletonville to deliberate on section 189(3) notice issued by AngloGold Ashanti to retrench 8,500 workers in all its South African operations," the union said in a statement. 

"The meeting resolved to oppose the planned retrenchments and will engage relevant government departments and the company in an effort to avoid job losses."

AngoGold Ashanti announced its intention to retrench workers last week Wednesday.

Two days later, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane instructed the Minerals and Petroleum Board to verify whether the information provided by Anglo Gold Ashanti motivating for the retrenchments took into consideration industry commitments to save jobs.

AngloGold Ashanti’s South African operations, employs about 28,000 people, including contractors.

Zwane met with the chief executive of AngloGold Ashanti, Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan, and his executives on Friday.

"We continue to appeal to companies to act responsibly and with sensitivity. These are not just numbers to be thrown around, but people’s livelihoods and future job prospects, and we should not take this matter lightly," Zwane said at the time.

More information on the latest round of retrenchments is expected to be made available after the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) appoints a facilitator for the process in terms of the Labour Relations Act.

Anglo Gold Ashanti wants to place on care and maintenance the Kopanang mine in the Vaal River region, and the Savuka section of the TauTona mine, in the West Wits Region. 

Savuka has been in operation for 59 years, and has already been extended 10 years beyond its natural life. Kopanang Mine produced its first gold in 1981, 36 years ago.

African News Agency